About Mineral Sands
Mostly used for the production of Industrial minerals, on a global scale, mineral sands are of crucial economic importance as non-metallic and metallic raw materials alike.
Concentrations of relatively heavy minerals which have accumulated as a result of natural processes are called placer(s) or placer deposits.
In Bangladesh placers are found in beaches, coastal dunes, river sand bars and the shoals of the Bay of Bengal.
Of the numerous heavy minerals, only a few have economic significance due to their properties and prevalence. These are called valuable heavy minerals (VHM). The principal VHM include Ilmenite, Leucoxene, Rutile and Zircon.
To a lessor degree Garnet and Titanomagnetite can be considered economic minerals.
Whats in Bangladesh?
The heavy mineral concentrate (HMC) is dominated by non-valuable heavy minerals, including significant quantities of Garnet
(estimated to average 5 to 30% of the heavy minerals). The dominant opaque mineral is a low grade Ilmenite (typically 9 to 46%) with significant
magnetite (1 to 5%) and very minor amounts of other Iron oxides. Zircon (1 to 6%), Rutile (1 to 6%), Leucoxene (0.5 to 5%) and while
their proportion in the HM is relatively low compared to conventional Australian deposits, the amount of HM mineralisation equates to
in-situ grades of 2 – 4% VHM.
The potential for commercial production of mineral products has been demonstrated by the various metallurgical test work carried out on
samples by Australian laboratories specializing in mineral sands assessment.
Utilization of Mineral Sands
Heavy Minerals are used as transparent protective coatings used in ceramics, paints, and cosmetics.
Some minerals are used as feedstock for the production of steal or titanium.
Mineral Sands are found Worldwide and are being mined in many contries including India, Australia, Mozambique, Kenya, Madagascar,
USA, India, South Africa and China.
Gravity separation methods such as centrifugal separation using spirals are used to separate the heavy minerals
from the sand. The individual minerals may then be separated by way of their different magnetic and electrostatic
behaviour. No Chemicals are used to produce in the proecss. The process uses electricity and water, the water can
be recycled using a reservoir system.
Premier Minerals Limited have hopes of supplying many economic minerals but wish to focus on the market trend and history of
two major products Zircon and Rutile, these two minerals are of the highest value and they do not require any chemical separation processes.
Between 2011-2012, prices for these minerals escalated tremendously. And though, over the last twelve months, there has been in a
steady decline, PML expects prices to rise steadily over the long term.